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The Lighter Walk

Beginning with Peace

We get to chose how we live our lives. As peace-givers or hate-makers. Do we strive to bring “Shalom” in our interactions with others? Or are we ready to battle for our own opinions- no matter the hurt they may cause?

The Bible Project defines the “Hebrew word for peace is shalom, and it describes a deep sense of well-being that comes through the presence of completion, reconciliation, and justice.” Three ways in which we can bring a sense of completeness to our relationship, rather than cracks and brokenness. Sometimes it means we must take steps to restore the brokenness.

Peace then requires us to set aside ourselves and to listen to others. It involves a willingness to bridge the divide and create a new wholeness in the relationship. And that is hard…on our own. Jesus came to teach and bring restoration to a broken world. He came first to restore our relationship with God the father, and he left the Holy Spirit to guide us in the restoration of other broken relationships.

I realize I can’t be a peace-maker if I am not feeding my heart and soul with the good words of my faith. I can’t begin to step into a broken world without praying and coming into agreement with the Lord that Shalom matters. I can’t do it without inviting the Holy Spirit to speak to me. I have to be willing to invest in my spiritual growth if I ever want to get to a place of wholeness for myself and in relationships with others.

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Transformation Stories

A Hope I Can Trust

Hope is such an encouraging word. We say it all the time: I hope you feel better, I hope you get the job, I hope it all works out. Dictionary.com defines it as: “to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.” We keep hoping “to feel that something desired may happen.” We don’t know that it will, but it could happen and in saying “I hope,” we mean that we will wait together for whatever is to come, anticipating the best outcome.

However, there is a different kind of hope we discover this time of year – a deeper spiritual hope. This is an extended level of trust, often based on past spiritual experiences or shared stories. It is a hope placed in the person of Jesus Christ. It is a prayer we offer to God, believing in our own spirit, that God will manage the details as we walk with him.

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Transformation Stories

A Thankful Changed Heart

I wanted to sleep in this Thanksgiving morn, and yet I was called out of bed to take in the sunrise over the apartments where I live. You see I was laying in bed moaning to myself about not having a bigger space to invite people into. I was regretting the mistakes that caused me to give up two incredible homes.

From my balcony. New every day!

As I walked to the kitchen to switch on the coffee pot, I turned and looked out the window to yet another magical sunrise. As a friend used to say: “God hit me with a clue by four” and I remembered how blessed I am to have let all those other houses go. Those places were traps for me financially and, I dare say, spiritually too. It was all about the image I cast about my success and about my ability to fit into a higher economic status. “About me” is the key term here.

California Dreaming!

Eight years ago, I packed up everything and took a trip away. I didn’t know that stopping for a month and taking in the natural beauty of California would be a pivotal moment in my life. Everything changed when I came home. A smaller place to live—with a view! A new church with new relationships and healing. A new life that wasn’t focused on my image but on the image of Jesus.

Food pantry donation drive at church.

Moving the focus from my wants to image-building and the message to have more, meant I could be open to see the needs of others around me. I stepped into prayer ministry. I became a spiritual director to help and encourage other women see God’s plan for them. God led me to little children and parents and a team of incredible care-givers. Unexpectedly, he led me to help create an outreach ministry for those in need of food and care. And now, I hear a call to do more. In HIS name and for HIM. Not me…

Seeds of growth.

All along the way, God was guiding my steps. Even though I was stubborn and stuck to my ways, he was patient in letting me get to where he wants me. This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the life journey of bumps and bruises because it has taken me to this new place of peace, of carrying others burdens, of waiting on the Lord to nudge me to the next thing.

I am thankful that he has changed my heart. I am thankful for praying friends who have walked with me through awful times. I am thankful for the hope of a new sunrise and a new adventure.

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Living Loving Serving

The Gift of my Church Community

This has been the summer I fully embraced the community of my church family. The one where I attend services and the one that has connected me with some life-long friends and acquaintances. It has been a summer of gathering together socially and spiritually. Mostly, it has been the best time I have had in years and I am beyond grateful.

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Living Loving Serving Transformation Stories

Respecting the Change

Change is hard. Change brings unfamiliarity. Change can be external to us while processed internally. Change can bring up feelings we never knew we had. Change can send us into a dark place or it can open the door to new opportunities. Change can make us angry or it can bring a sense of relief. Yes, change can be hard.

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The Lighter Walk Transformation Stories

Making God the Main Thing

My life today is nothing compared to what it was even five years ago, let alone 30 years ago when I began my Christian journey. God planted a seed of change; however, it took almost 20 years to stop living according to my rules and listen to his desires for me.

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Living Loving Serving Transformation Stories

When Change Means Asking Hard Questions

I am one of those people who isn’t afraid to ask the tough question. I love to get people thinking about opposing viewpoints or scenarios. When these are thoughtful civil discussions, we can begin to see that the alternative perspective has merit. We can begin to incorporate those perspectives into our own and realize a change in ourselves.

Categories
Transformation Stories

Navigating the Wave of Change

Change is to alter, make different, transform, to switch, and to break from the old. Change can be difficult when we first realize we must do something differently in our lives. Change can be even more traumatic when thrust upon us and outside of our control. 

If we have made the decision to change something in our lives,  it is likely that we are moving toward or away from something. Angela Dunbar writes that we move away from that which we don’t like or  toward something beginning–often with goals set. If we make a decision to change things in our lives and in our environment, we need to consider the actions we should take and then commit to those actions. Through the process of reaching a new state of being,  we may discover areas that require healing or we may come upon new information that causes us to re-evaluate the steps we are taking. It is important to remember that this is a journey and while the path may take unexpected turns, we need to stay with the journey to the end. In the pain of change comes true transformation.

And then there is change beyond our control. Some event may occur that knocks us off our feet. This usually happens in relationships. Perhaps the person you thought you would have a long-term relationship with isn’t on the same page as you and your friendship suddenly ends. Perhaps you have unexpectedly lost a loved one–a parent or a spouse/partner. Maybe you lost a job you loved or were forced into retirement when you still wanted to work. This sort of change is much more traumatic because we frequently don’t have the time to process the change; it just happens and we are left without a plan.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

I know for me that without my faith and trust in God to guide me through change, planned or unplanned, I would most likely curl up into a little ball. I have actually done that on occasion; however, I am fortunate that some wonderful women of faith reached out to me and reminded me that I am loved, I have value, and I have worth in the eyes of God. And when I think I am alone, I must remind myself that God will never desert me. I can pick up my bible or a spiritually-influenced book and let the words guide me through my times of uncertainty. Some times its a short process of getting on with the changes while other times I dig my heels in and it takes enormous pain (hitting bottom) before I will do what I need to do. No matter what, the commitment is to embrace the change, to grow, and to become better than I was the day before.

If we were to look through the bible we find it full of stories of individuals who were thrown into circumstances beyond their control and came through the fire, changed for the better. Look at Moses who walked away from a charmed life to live in the desert and ultimately became the voice of the Lord and a leader of change for a nation. David, who made extraordinarily wrong choices that cost people, including his own child, their lives. He became willing to embrace change and altered the course of history. What about a young woman who had a plan for her life only to have the angels tell her nothing she was planning was a great as what God had in mind. And in her obedience, the world was changed.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.(Jeremiah 29:11)

No matter what is happening in your world today, change is going to occur. How we navigate the waters of change will determine our ability to find joy in the change. If we take the perspective that change is an awful painful thing against which we should fight, it is likely that we will drown in depression and anger or sadness. If we can accept or even embrace, the change (planned or not) and seek God’s will for our lives, we will ultimately find peace and maybe even joy.

I pray that you will seek out the positive aspects of change, ask the Lord to reveal his new plan for you, and trust that a new day is coming. I pray that your heart and mind will be transformed and that you will be challenged to share what God has done for you with others who suffer. May you find blessings in your trials and courage to take action.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:6-8)

 

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Coaching Tips and Exercises Living Loving Serving

Inspired Change

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Have you ever found yourself in a place where you know something has to change but you aren’t sure what next step to take? Have you stayed in a place out of a sense of obligation when you know something isn’t right? Have you wondered if it is time to move on yet you feel trapped or you fear the change?

I think we all have these struggles from time to time. Change is a choice. We can choose to stay in the uncomfortable zone and ‘suffer through’ it or we can choose to ask for help to discern which next step to take. For me, this decision starts with prayer and asking others to pray with me so that I can get out of my head and away from emotions that might influence my decision to stay or to bolt.

Categories
Living Loving Serving

The Empty Arms of Motherhood

Mother’s Day can be a painful day for many women.

  • It is a reminder of a child lost.
  • It is a reminder of a child given up in adoption.
  • It is a reminder of a child never born.
  • It is a reminder of broken relationships between a child and a mother.
  • it is a reminder for some couples of the child they are desperate to have.
  • it is a reminder for some singles of the life they have without loving their own child.

And for some it is a  day of defending their choice not to have children.

For all the joy that Mother’s Day may bring to many women, some find themselves in a sad spot today. They may not look forward to walking into church and seeing others around them sitting with their children and celebrating the day. They may feel uncomfortable when someone wishes them a Happy Mother’s Day when they don’t feel happy at all.

If you are one of these women, I want to remind you that you are loved by a Father who understands your pain. He too lost a child. He has a plan for your life regardless of your status as a mother. Perhaps he is calling you to come along side other women and encourage them in their sadness. Maybe he is calling you to walk with other singles and encourage them of their value as a woman.. Maybe he is calling you to work with children and fill the void you believe you have by sharing his love with them.

God does not leave us in our circumstances without purpose. You are a strong woman made in God’s image and you have value and worth in this life.

You may carry the memory of loving a child gone and that is a precious gift to give to others.

You may not be at the point of having children yet and can use this time to support others in a way God is nudging you.

You may have children living apart from you and today you can reach out and remind them that you love them, no matter what has happened in the past.

I want to encourage you today as you run into women who you know are in these circumstances to love on them. Genuinely love on them. Maybe pick up a little bunch of flowers on your way out and give them to a special lady and remind her that  she is special and is a beloved child of God herself. Let us use the love God has given to us to lift up others in sharing that love today.

Happy Lovely Wonderfully Made Women’s Day!!